Susan McKeown


Green Linnet

Dublin-born singer McKeown’s fifth solo album since 1990 is her most accessible yet. Like ‘98’s Bushes and Briars, it casts a wide arc over the rhythmic and textural possibilities in world music. Twenty-five players, in various combinations, reference flamenco in “Goodbye and Farewell,” North Africa in “Lord Baker” and China in the eerie “Lowlands of Holland"—which features Wang Guoweia on erhu, a Chinese violin. Her core repertoire, however, remains traditional British ("The Murlough Shore,” “Bonny Greenwoodside,” “The Dark-Haired Girl") and Irish ("Goodbye and Farewell,” “Young Nancy Oberlin"). Liam Weldon’s “Dark Horse on the Wind” is perfect for McKeown’s hair-raising unaccompanied alto. With her expressive phrasing and purity of tone in both Gaelic and English grounding the arc, Lowlands is a beautiful and inspiring merging of traditional Celtic songs with contemporary world music.